Several Wyoming lawmakers have proposed legislation that would attempt to nullify any new federal law to restrict access to assault weapons.
Wyoming State Senator Larry Hicks, one of the bill’s ten co-sponsors, told The Washington Examiner that his constituents were worried about their gun rights in the wake of the tragic Newtown elementary school shooting.
“They are very, very upset that we’re going to see some level of federal takeover of our weapons and abuse of our rights given to us by the Second Amendment,” Hicks said. “Also that the federal government will bypass our legislative officials and confiscate our weapons through executive order. This gives citizens of the Western United States a great deal of concern.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has re-introduced the assault weapons ban and the White House said President Barack Obama is considering an executive order to implement gun control.
The Firearms Freedom Act states that “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming.” Anyone who tried to enforce a federal gun ban would face felony charges.
Whether the state could legally enforce the law — or even attempt to do so — remains unclear.
In 2010, Wyoming enacted the Firearms Freedom Act, which exempted firearms made, sold and kept in Wyoming from federal gun laws. However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) continues to regulate the manufacture and sale of firearms in the state.
Montana enacted a similar law in 2009. Gun rights advocates had attempted to sue the ATF for violating the law, but their suit was dismissed by a federal district judge. The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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